Over on Trekweb, O Deus wrote in his review of “A Night in Sickbay”—
“Sickbay” manages to achieve much of the [“Spock’s Brain”] effect with a bizarre episode that has Archer’s emotional dependence on his dog move well into the creepy range while displaying some of the more unprofessional behavior of his career (and considering some of the low points of Archer’s actions thus far, that is saying a lot). Star Trek Captains have had their share of angst and all but Kirk had large spells of celibacy, but they’ve also found more crucial issues to worry about. And better ways to cope than to become emotionally dependent on a pet to the extent that their ship takes second priority. Archer having a near breakdown and abandoning his responsibilities over something like this seriously undermines his credibility and his decision making abilities and his very fitness for the job.
Frankly, I question whether or not the reviewer has ever owned a pet. When my cat passed away in my arms a year ago I was devastated. It was a very rough emotional patch, and I can easily sympathize with someone’s whose pet is ill and near death. Archer’s actions, while perhaps not representative of his past actions, are certainly consistent with a loving, caring pet owner. Porthos is more than a friend. Porthos is his family. Had it been a close relative of Archer’s near death, his actions would have been, in my opinion, quite similar.